The Apple on the Beach

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Who would’ve thought that an apple could cause such heartache? In the hamlet between Aldeburgh and Thorpeness lies a particular apple tree, well known to locals, that has made its home on the beach. It perches merely metres above the approaching sea, and fruits particularly early, with its best fruit being found in August.

Protected by the hollow from within which it grows, this particular tree only grows to around three foot, expanding over a large area. It produces a particularly attractive, large apple with a unique flavour, which we grow under the name Aldeburgh Beach Apple.

The origins of the tree are unknown, there are many tales that the locals tell. One story is that the tree is the last remaining from an orchard that had been claimed by the sea. Another likely tale is that this is simply a case of an apple core being thrown over the shoulder by an angler fishing on the beach.

When DNA samples were recently taken from this tree, it was found that the National fruit collection had samples already on file. The original samples were able to be traced to Richard Heseltime who had been cultivating this particular apple for several years in his orchard at Willow Farm, Assington. Although the origins of the sample were unknown, his son was well aware of the Aldeburgh beach apple and it is likely that these were the samples sent to the National Fruit Collection way back in 1984.

Beneath all this mystery, one thing is certain. The tree has many admirers and a whole host of names to go with it. Here at Botanica we call this the Aldeburgh beach tree, however it is also known as Roger Deakin’s Apple (a nod to when the tree appeared in his book) and tree-in-the-sea by many locals.

Apple trees are best planted as bare root from November onwards, these fascinating and delicious trees are available from our Nursery. Until then, you’re welcome to contact the office where we will be offering a special discount on all bare root trees and hedging if purchased before October!